Western Pallet Magazine May 2023 | Page 18


PECO Pallet Rolls Out Vision-X System for Automated Pallet Inspection

Istaca, Illionois-based PECO Pallet, Inc. (PECO), a major provider of rental pallet services in North America, has announced the successful implementation of Vision X, a cutting-edge technology system that streamlines the pallet inspection process and enhances accuracy, efficiency, and quality of pallet repair and maintenance operations. It is the second major technology announcement from the company this year.

PECO Pallet maintains North America’s second largest pallet rental network, with 90 pallet depots overseeing an inventory of over 23 million of its high-quality 9-block pallets. The new automated inspection system has been installed at key PECO maintenance depots, where returned pallets are inspected, refurbished, and redistributed to customers.

Objectives of PECO’s Vision-X  Initiative

According to Joe Medeiros, PECO’s Senior Director of Operations Excellence, pallets are often returned in an unknown condition, with varying levels of compliance with specifications and maintenance requirements. The objective of Vision X was four-fold:

1 Create a technology solution that can significantly enhance the accuracy of defect detection during pallet inspection, surpassing the current manual process by 10 times.

2 Replace a cumbersome and time-consuming manual pallet sorting workflow that often results in incorrect identification of pallet condition and repair needs.

3 Minimize repetitive tasks to enable employees to allocate more time to value-added activities.

4 Enhance inspection speed, efficiency, and quality to facilitate the proper inspection and repair of a greater number of pallets within a shorter timeframe, resulting in a larger pallet inventory available to clients.

“We identified greater than 500 individual defects that can occur with a pallet, said Medeiros. From a material handling perspective, a typical PECO pallet weighs 65 pounds, with each pallet having 26 boards, 9 blocks, and 138 nails. “It was very difficult to address those in an efficient and accurate manner and we knew that increasing defect detection would be paramount to the success of the project,” he said.

“We built the technology with the ability to identify an anomaly within the thickness of a human hair,” Medeiros continued. “It is similar to what automobile manufacturers use to inspect cars for defects as they leave the factory.”